RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Local efforts are already underway to provide assistance in the Deep South after deadly storms swept through Friday night.

On Saturday, officials say the storm and at least one tornado resulted in the deaths of more than 20 people and injured even more. The storm has left crews and people picking up in Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee.

“You see power of nature so concentrated, you see the damage, you see whole homes gone,” said Barry Porter, regional CEO for the American Red Cross in Eastern North Carolina.

Porter said he’s aware of at least one volunteer who has already headed in that direction from Wilmington.

“And we’ll have many more. There will be folks going in for shelter support, in case work and mass care… These disasters come suddenly, but then it takes weeks to begin to help families recover,” Porter said.

Porter said trained volunteers as well as government and local agencies are already providing assistance in the area. He said the organization expects more than 2,000 homes with major damage or destruction.

“The biggest challenge is getting to people and finding out what the needs are,” said Porter.

During the initial response, Porter said volunteers are prioritizing efforts to make sure families have food, shelter and emergency supplies. Porter said materials and supplies can sometimes take anywhere from 24 to 48 hours to arrive and get into place.

The regional CEO said volunteers will most likely be sent in waves to help over the next few weeks — some of these volunteers will work 16-18 hour days.

“With little sleep, seven days on, no breaks… because they see the need.” He added, “That’s the amazing part of our volunteers. They want to help meet the needs and they’ll work themselves tireless, but they know they’re making an impact.”

The American Red Cross of Eastern North Carolina said volunteers will not only arrive to provide an immediate response, but also stay to provide assistance in the long-term recovery.

Porter said if anyone would like to contribute to the disaster relief effort, they can go to RedCross.org or call 1-800-Red-Cross to make a donation. The American Red Cross is a volunteer agency and does not receive assistance from the government to provide help when disaster strikes.